By Dr. Abner Mality
Dense, depressing and heavy, WITHERED arise from the Georgia swamps once more with “Verloren”. This band is an ever-changing enigma, but one thing you can always be certain of no matter what album you pick up: the music will be darker than the bottom of a well.
“Verloren” keeps pace with the nightmarish age we find ourselves in. This is a suffocating kind of album, one that doesn’t allow much light to escape. WITHERED’s sound has always been hard to make a comparison to, but it’s thick, smothering death metal with touches of sludge and the Gothic. “By Tooth In Tongue” opens the ritual with some very unusual vocal gymnastics that mix clean tones with growls. But the cleans don’t sound like any other band out there and for sure aren’t the happy, poppy kind many more predictable bands thrown around. This song is a twisting, smothering wreath of musical smoke. “The Predation” follows with a more obvious death metal influence, yet still unpredictable in terms of song structure.
“Casting In Wait” and “The Long Hurt” just flat out crush with heaviness, but “Passing Through” is a sound collage where a strange melody flickers around sounds pulled from an urban nightmare. Not metal, yet dark and heavy. The last two cuts, the title track and “From Ashen Shores”, both let up on the metallic heaviness and inject Gothic post-punk gloominess into the set. To be honest, I thought these kind of drifted a bit and lost me in spots, although hard riffs can still be found. But overall, they fit the lightless theme of “Verloren”.
So it’s another strong effort from WITHERED, who seem to come and go from the scene in unpredictable waves. Lovers of dark, heavy music with some thought to it should be drawn to it.